A friend of mine sent me an email and, among other things, she mentioned something about my transition. I know she means well and she is just concerned but I found it highly naive, unsupportive and frankly just plain insulting. It does make me realize there are probably more people who think these things and/or don't fully understand these things. They probably don't have enough information to get better insight. So I decided I should explain these things in public. These are some of the basics actually but it could be they got snowed under. It can also be that I haven't been 100% clear on some of these things because I hadn't figured it out for myself yet. This transition is a huge process and takes time. It's like that for most trans people. You start on a journey and you're not sure where you will end up. You might think you know and you might actually end up where you thought you would, but most of us take detours at some point. We have to learn how to be trans, in our own way, for ourselves. No one can tell us how to do it because we are all different. At first, when I realized I was trans I thought I had to be some sort of macho man and denounce all things feminine, which scared me and I didn't want to but I thought a real transman had to be like that. So then I thought maybe I'm not a transman but I'm somewhere in between. After a lot of thought I came to the conclusion that yes, I really do identify as male enough to consider myself a transman. I may have feminine traits and have developed skills and qualities that are considered female, but that does not make me a woman. I am not a woman. I am a man, at this point trapped in a female body, with a healthy, developed female side. That's how I look at things now. Ask me again in a few year and it might be different. You never know. I might turn into a drag queen. It's all possible.
Lets walk through a few phrases from that email.
"Just be sure of what you really really want before you start the hormones. There's no going back afterwards."
I have given this a lot of thought. I am very very aware of the fact that once I start hormones there is no going back. I know it is a really big step. And I can't wait. I'm a bit scared, as with all big steps that will change your life in a good but fundamental way and will take some getting used to. Like getting married, or having a baby, or moving to a different city or country even. So this is a normal kind of scary. This is the good kind of scary.
As for not being able to go back? I can't go back anyway. Just like I can't go back to being anorexic anymore. I have seen what it has done to me in the past to not be able to be true to myself. How destructive it is. How much it hurts. Once you realize this and you see what you can do about it, there is no turning back. Sometimes, when I get nervous, I do wonder, if I could go back, since I haven't made any modifications to my body yet. But I have made the biggest change already. And that's in my own head. I have acknowledged the problem and there is no denying it any longer. Starting hormone therapy won't make it any less possible to turn back as it already is impossible to turn back. My mind is made up. I have seen the light.
"-you're you and people should relate to YOU not to what your body looks like or your facial hair or your voice."
Yes, that's true. And that's very nice and all but not very realistic. It's not how the world works. We can get angry about that but it won't change. This is something that people will always do. Why? Because what you look like says something about your inside. When you wear red heels it says something different then when you wear black sneakers. I have always felt that your body should reflect how you feel. Especially when I had anorexia. I felt horrible, I felt sick, I felt weak, I felt helpless. Since I was unable to speak up for a long time and tell people what was wrong with me I was trying to get some sort of message across with my body by the way I treated it. There are many other aspects to anorexia and there were for me as well but right now this bit is relevant. Right now I feel very different and I look very different. I still want my body to reflect how I feel, who I am. Everyone does. Most people are not aware of it but it's what we do. Sometimes I see a piece of clothing in a store that wouldn't suit me at all but I find myself thinking: that's a really nice shirt, that's totally *insert friend's name*. That shirt would represent a certain person really well but it would not be 'me'. I hear people say that quite often when they go shopping for clothes: that's so you! We express our personality with the way we dress, do our hair, make up, tattoos, jewelery, etc. And not just how we decorate our bodies externally. There are limitations to shaping our bodies but we always try. Do we want to look thin, muscular, soft? We change our bodies through diet and exercise to make it look more like ourselves. The cosmetic surgery industry is huge after all. The way our bodies look, matters. It is part of our identity.
Lets go back to the shoes. If someone wears red high heels you tend to approach that person different then when someone wears practical sneakers. Why? Because you automatically link the shoes to a certain type of person. In most cases you are right to do so though not everyone agrees on what certain things mean. You can't take one item and deduct someone's entire personality from it. You have to take in account the entire context, add those things up and then make an estimation on how that person wants to be treated. There is one tricky part of the human anatomy that gets us confused though. Boobs. A lot of people assume boobs mean certain things. Welcome to the 21st century. They don't mean as much as they used to. The way the are presented does, but the mere presence does not implicate lesser value. This is the main reason why I hate having boobs. People see them and the start treating me differently, as if I'm less then I am. This shouldn't happen to anyone, no matter what their gender identity is or what their body looks like.
"You'll never be a complete girl because mentally that's not where you're at -"
I'm not striving to be a complete girl. I'm not striving to be a girl at all. I never was a girl in the first place. I was just born in a female body. That's all.
"-but physically you'll never be a complete guy."
Yes, thank you. I am very, very, very, very aware of that. Thank you for reminding me. But....
Does that really matter? In a way, to me personally, it does. But the only time that matters is in the bedroom. That's all. The rest of the time it's nobody's business. Seriously. I don't go asking people what they have in their pants either. It's none of my business so I don't see why other people should be concerned about what I have in my pants. Gender identity is mostly about the way people treat you and how comfortable you are with your body in every day life. What's between your legs is a lot less important. It would be nice if I would be able to get a fully functional penis but I won't die if I can't have one. I will die if people keep staring at my boobs and keep treating me like a girl.
"Which is worse for you? which is better for you? You have many decades ahead of you - make the choice that you're reasonably sure you'll be able to live with through all of those years."
I think I have answered that. I'm not reasonably sure though. I know what I need to do. I stand by my decision 100% and more. This is the best choice I have made in my entire life.
I do understand the concern. I really do. I'm not happy about being trans. If anything I would much rather just have been born a boy in a male body or a girl in this body. But that's not an option. These are the cards I got dealt and I'll have to make the best of it. This is the best option I have, no matter how hard it might be. Even though I do feel offended by these remarks, I'm also glad I received them via email so I have been able to read them a few times and really think about them. I know most people don't know anything about transsexuals. I didn't either when I discovered I was one. So having these things in writing makes me able to respond to them properly and for a wider audience. That's the whole point of this blog, to help people understand these things better. So no, I'm not mad about this email. I'm just a bit frustrated and very aware of how much work still needs to be done.